The 9 Best Natural Shampoos That Work Just as Well as Traditional Formulas

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There’s never been a better time to switch to natural shampoo. Sodium lauryl sulfate, a foaming agent found in traditional shampoos that strips your hair of moisture, can double your conditioner budget—not to mention leave you with dull, dry strands.

That said, there isn’t a formal definition of what constitutes a "natural” shampoo. Some people like to cleanse with nothing but apple cider vinegar and baking soda; others are happier with a product that looks and smells more like traditional shampoo. If the latter is you, keep reading. We found a handful of shampoos that are sulfate-, paraben-, or BPA-free, which is important for products you use every day. These herbal replacements are surprisingly effective, and once your hair has adjusted, that means more moisture, more shine, and more softness day after day.

Below, the top natural shampoos on the market. 

Best Overall: Rahua Hydration Shampoo

rahua classic shampoo

Courtesy of Sephora

This remains one of our staple shampoos. It's so hydrating thanks to the coconut and shea butter, which gently lift dirt and grease while deeply moisturizing strands. It really does get your hair clean, which can be a struggle with some all-natural formulas. But really, our favorite attribute is Rahua's signature heady palo santo scent—our very favorite. 

Best Budget: Acure Curiously Clarifying Lemongrass & Argan Shampoo

The gentle clarifying power of this incredible drugstore find is complemented by the addition of argan oil, an incredibly potent natural moisturizer for hair. The lemongrass scent is fresh and clean, but not overpowering, and there are several other scents to try. In addition to being paraben- and sulfate-free, it’s also fully vegan and cruelty-free, and contains no dyes, aluminum, formaldehyde, or nonylphenol ethoxylate.

Best for Dandruff: John Masters Organics Spearmint & Meadowsweet Shampoo

John Masters Organics Spearmint & Meadowsweet Scalp Stimulating Shampoo
Courtesy of Dermstore

One of the best-known natural beauty brands, John Masters Organics uses a blend of natural ingredients like spearmint and aloe vera to stimulate and calm the scalp, helping to increase blood flow and heal flaky skin. As a 2-in-1 product, it’s highly moisturizing, so many are able to use it as their sole hair product. However, it’s important to know your hair history and hair type, and if your hair is prone to dryness or breakage, follow with a conditioner.

Best Clarifying: EVOLVh Ultra Shine Moisture Shampoo

EVOLVh Ultra Shine Moisture Shampoo
Courtesy of Dermstore

EVOLVh is committed to a natural product right down to the bottle—their fully non-plastic packaging arrives in recyclable packing materials, and their gentle formulas are highly concentrated, meaning there’s less waste, less water used in their product, and bottles last longer. But what’s inside is actually even better. 

Natural shampoos can admittedly feel heavier on the hair, and EVOLVh’s vitamin C, amino acids, and antioxidants fully cleanse the hair of both product buildup and environmental pollutants, giving your strands a fresh start every time. It works well as a complement to any other natural shampoo as well.

Best For Curly Hair: Briogeo Curl Charisma Rice Amino Shampoo

curl charisma shampoo

Courtesy of Briogeo

Briogeo designs its line to solve specific hair problems, so curly-haired girls have several choices depending on their hair texture. If your hair shifts between straight and wavy and you just need some help controlling frizz, Briogeo’s Rosarco line can be an equally good fit, but for truly dry and frizzy curls, the Rice Amino & Avocado treatments are where it’s at.

Once the rice amino has penetrated the hair shaft to block out frizz-causing humidity, tomatoes, shea butter, and avocado oil all heap moisture onto your strands, giving them shape and softness. This shampoo works particularly well when paired with the conditioner from the same line, which leaves a little more shea butter on your hair for long-lasting softness.

Best For Fine Hair: 100% Pure Kelp & Mint

100% Pure Kelp & Mint
Courtesy of Dermstore

Those with fine hair are often (and rightfully) wary of natural formulas because any greasy residue is just not an option unless you feel like showering twice a day. Fortunately, this shampoo has earned its (very enthusiastic) cult following. Thanks to its high content of seaweed collagen, it transforms flat, lackluster strands into glossy, bouncy locks worthy of a slow-motion shampoo commercial. (And who doesn't love smelling minty fresh?)

Best Organic: Dr. Alkaitis Organic Herbal Shampoo

dr alkaitis shampoo

Courtesy of Amazon

A natural shampoo that actually lathers? Yep, this miracle product actually exists, and it’s a recipe for incredible hair. The highly-concentrated herbal formula uses aloe vera, coconut oil, and their signature hair and scalp herbal complex (an apothecary-eque blend of horsetail, oat buds, coltsfoot, wild chamomile, boxwood, nettle, comfrey, and other legacy ingredients blended with vitamin E) to promote shine and strength in your hair, and to help naturally detangle without conditioner.

Best For Color Treated Hair: Hairstory New Wash Sulfate-Free Shampoo

Hairstory New Wash
Courtesy of Hairstory 

This all-in-one non-detergent formula skips the sulfates, silicones, and parabens, and uses essential oils and moisture-saturated cleansers to wash, condition, and detangle. Because it’s designed for salon use, it’s totally safe for color and heat styling, and lets you reduce your number of weekly washes, which is really the key to preserving color. For added environmental friendliness, their subscription service delivers a refillable bottle and a large refill pouch rather than multiple plastic bottles of product.

Best Splurge: Grown Alchemist Anti-Frizz Shampoo

grown alchemist shampoo

Courtesy of Nordstrom

Although it is, indeed, pricey, this is all you'll want to use on your strands. The gentle formula revives especially dry strands with luxe plant-based ingredients like ginger CO2, Shorea robusta, methylglyoxal-manuka, hydrolyzed baobab protein, and plant-derived liposomes for an ultra-clean and shiny finish.

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